Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Café profile: the May Flower, Seoul, South Korea

The outdoor patio of the May Flower

Most of Seoul's cafes are crowded and noisy, but in the midst of all that chaos, I was surprised and relieved to find my oasis at the May Flower. This spacious café featured an enormous outdoor seating area, that could have easily been a restaurant or nightclub. I remember searching for it on Google Maps or looking for their website somewhere, and found nothing. I'm not sure if this place is still around, or if they have an internet presence, but I enjoyed my time here so much.

As soon as we entered, I felt like I could stay there forever. We probably spent two hours at this place, the lost we spent anywhere in Seoul exact our hostel, where we only slept a mere 6 hours anyway. Some of the photos were taken from the patio cafe, and some where taken from the second floor balcony, where we climbed up to watch the sunset. Such a peaceful place in the heart of the city. 

View from the balcony

View of the entrance

The yellow stand is where coffee is ordered

Friday, November 24, 2017

What did I buy in Seoul?

What did I buy in Seoul?
not as much as most people. 
Seoul is a popular shopping attraction for Japanese tourists, because apparently they can get many of the same products for cheaper than in Japan. 
I didn't find this to be true, at least not for the things I like to buy, but I still took home a few small items. Korea is famous for its’ beauty brands so I bought something from almost every shop we visited.

The tote bag is an awesome find that I bought right off a woman’s shoulder. My brave friend when up and asked her where she got her bag, and she said, “I made it, but I will sell you this one for $10.” So there it was. She emptied her contents into a shopping bag, and I took the purse of her shoulder.
I don’t even know what it says in Korean…a little help please?

The rest from top clockwise:
Black bow for my hair
Black ring
Nylon Korea magazine (I try to get one in every country)
Pomegranate face mask (Etude)
Charcoal mask (too cool for school)
Hand lotion (lily & jack)
lip gloss (too cool for school)

Primer (Banila)

Monday, November 20, 2017

When your best friend's photo diary is better than yours

Going through my album of photos from a jaunt to Seoul in 2014 on a precious three-day weekend in Japan, I realized that the photos my best friend took from her iphone were all better than mine. Might as well celebrate her unique style and eye with a special collage, a tribute to our time together.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Seoul Diaries 1

I had no time to write in Seoul. Traveling with my best friend meant that I had no time alone in cafes. It meant that I constantly had to keep up with her. And she likes to travel, and to shop, so I had little reflection time. I did however manage to scribble some notes in a journal while laying on the bed in our hostel moments before we slept.

The following in an excerpt from that day, Friday March 21, Seoul, South Korea

Arrived in Seoul at noon. Through the entire train ride people were talking on cell phones  - a big contrast to the tomb-silence of trains in Japan. People also chatted with each on the trains, even total strangers, in a loud tone that I sometimes mistook for aggression. The train ceilings also feel very low and the train door will close on you. On the train from the airport to the mains station we saw an old man get stuck in the door  - I'm not sure what happened, maybe his foot or cane went through the crevice between the train and platform. Then in slow motions he fall face forward on the platform and the entire train car gasped. I felt sick watching it happened.  Passengers immediately rushed to help him get unstuck, and when they moved him onto the platform, the train  doors closed and we sped away.

We got off at Meyongdon at 2:45 to find our hostel and put our luggage down. The place looked like a goddam wholesale alley and was really run-down. We found the hostel, walked up a long flight of narrow steps carrying our heavy luggage only to be told that this was not our hostel. The staff gave some direction but offered no other help. We heaved the luggage down the steps.

We got back on the train to Dongminmum and arrived at 3:30. Still, we could find the hostel so we walked into a Pizza Hut and asked for direction. One of the staff members left their post behind the counter and walked us right to the front door of the hostel. That place could not have been more different from the first hostel. It was modern and clean, and the staff took our luggage right away and carried it to our rooms. The man at the counter was so friendly and chatty, and recommended a good local restaurant nearby. It was 5:00pm when we ate “lunch.”

We spent the rest of the day shopping in Galasoo-gil and I was able to make some interesting observations about the people I saw in Seoul:

   Korean girls mostly wear flat shoes, sneakers, and loafers, not like the Japanese girls in high heels and platforms.
   Couples are more affectionate in public  than in Japan. They hold and hands and even sneak kisses.
   Friends of the same gender are also more affectionate in public. They hold hands and put their arms around each other.
    Advertisements show only Koreans, not foreigners, mixed-race people, or even other Asians. In Tokyo, most of the ads for international brands still show only white models.
   People seem aggressive and rude in public, but they nice when you talk to them

   People say helpful things, like giving us directions and or wishing us a good trip, but with a tone that I interpret as aggressive or rude, so its confused me

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